Saturday, August 16, 2008

2010 Olympic host Canada shut out so far in China

BEIJING: As host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada has drawn up an ambitious medal-winning plan called "Own The Podium." That would be a welcome change for Canadian fans, whose summer athletes have avoided the podium altogether in a medal-less first week in Beijing.

The drought is provoking dismay back in Canada, even reaching the top levels of government. At a news conference in Newfoundland this week, the first question posed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was about the Olympic shutout.

"We'll remain optimistic," said Harper, echoing Canadian team leaders' mantra that Week Two will be better.

"We've always been a second-half team," Canadian Olympic Committee chairman Michael Chambers said in Beijing.

There have been near misses. Christine Girard finished fourth in her weightlifting class — hoisting just three more kilograms would have earned a bronze medal. Swimmer Mike Brown missed a bronze in the 200-meter breaststroke by .09 seconds.

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